Illinois Genetti Family

The Illinois branch of the Genetti family settled in the area of Collinsville and trace their roots back to Cipriano Genetti (1811-1890) and Cattarina Genetti (1812-1875) of Castelfondo, married in 1836. The couple shared the same surname and were 4th cousins from different branches of the Genetti family tree. Cipriano and Cattarina had four sons and two daughters: Domenica (1837-?), Giovanni Battista (1839-1882), Costantino Isidoro Francesco “August” (1842-1914), Rachele Arcangela (1847-1937), Cipriano (1850-1929) and Vigilio “William” (1852-1932). All of the siblings, except one, and their father came to America at one time or another.

Their oldest son, Giovanni (1839-1882) and his wife Maria Corazza (?-1883), died in Castelfondo of pneumonia, leaving behind three young children: Cipriano Giovanni Battista “August” (1876-1907), Costantino Francesco “Frank” (1878-1900) and Catterina Giuseppa “Katie” (1881-1954).

The third brother, Cipriano (1850-1929), came to the United States, worked in the mines and purchased a home, with the intention of settling in Illinois. However, for some reason he returned to Castelfondo, where he raised his family and never came back to America.

The elder Cipriano (father) immigrated just shortly before his death in 1890 and is buried in Collinsville, IL.

Today, the majority of Illinois descendants are from the family lines of Costantino “August” and Vigilio “William”.

But there is one surviving line that descends from the younger Cipriano’s son, Giuseppe Francesco “Joseph” (1881-1966), and another line through Giovanni’s daughter, Catterina “Katie” (1881-1954); both of whom immigrated to America.

This is a complicated family to trace, as all four brothers had a daughter named Catterina. Three of the girls lived in America and went by the name “Katie” or Catherine. Also many of the original Illinois settlers adopted Americanized names that appear quite different from their baptismal names, such as Costantino used the name “August”. And twenty years after a high-profile trial that took place in 1908, there was a complete name change by one of the descendants, making it exceptionally difficult to follow this particular line through to today’s living descendants.

You will find most of the early Illinois Genetti family buried in the St. Peter and Paul Cemetery located in Collinsville, Illinois.

 

Vigilio and Maria on their weeding day, 1886

 

Marriage portrait of Vigilio Genetti (1852-1932) and his first wife Maria Dolzadelli (1852-1907), photographed in Collinsville, Illinois in 1886.

Courtesy of Sharon Genetti Caine (great-granddaughter of Vigilio and Maria Genetti).

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Vigilio and Maria Genetti

William Vigilio Genetti with his first wife Maria Dolzadelli. Born in Castelfondo in 1852 to Cipriano (1811-1890) and Cattarina Genetti (1812-1875), his baptismal name was Vigilio, but he later adopted a more Americanized name of William. He settled in Collinsville, Illinois sometime around 1888. Vigilio and Maria had six children, with four surviving to adulthood: Charles (1889-1976), John B. (1890-1972), Catherine Marie “Katie” (1892-1989) and William (1893-1918).  Maria died in 1907.

Vigilio’s second wife was Margaretha Mueller (1883-?). They had three more children together: twins Amelia Rose (1916-2006), Margareth (1916-1999), and Vernon (1918-1999). Today there are many descendants of Vigilio living in the United States. Date of photo: unknown.

Courtesy of Brian Genetti, great-great grandson of Vigilio and Maria.

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Charles Genetti, 1889

 

 

Charles Genetti (1889-1976) the first born child of Vigilio and Maria. Probably photographed in 1889 in Collinsville, IL.

Courtesy of Sharon Genetti Caine (granddaughter of Charles Genetti).

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John and Charles Genetti, 1890

 

 

Brothers John (1890-1972) and Charles (1889-1976). John was Vigilio and Maria’s second child, photographed in Collinsville, IL about 1890/1891.

 

Courtesy of Sharon Genetti Caine (granddaughter of Charles Genetti).

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Katherine Genetti and Anton Mallmann with family

 

Katherine “Katie” Genetti (1868-1946) and her husband Anton Mallmann (1860-1905) moved their family to Deepwater, Missouri. Katie was the eldest child of Costantino Isidoro Francesco “August” Genetti (1842-1914) and Rosina “Rosa” Kemmeier 1842-1926). Her father was the first Genetti from Castelfondo to immigrate to America, arriving in 1867. This portrait shows three of their seven children, Louis (1889-1971), Rosa (1890-1893) and Wilhelmina (1892-1988) and was most likely photographed late in 1892, since little Rosa died in January of 1893.

Photo from Ancestry.com

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Vigilio and Maria Genetti with family

 

Vigilio (1852-1932) and Maria Genetti (1854-1907) with their four children, photographed in Collinsville, IL. Judging from the appearance of the children, the family had this portrait taken about 1897/1898. Standing L to R: Charles, Maria, Vigilio. Seated L to R: William, Catherine, John. There is an interesting mystery surrounding this portrait. In the 1900 census, Vigilio and Maria are listed as have six children, the two youngest being Minnie born in 1896 and August born in 1897. But they apparently disappear from public record after 1900. I originally assumed that the children had died sometime after 1900, not living to adulthood. But why wouldn’t little Minnie and August be included in this family portrait? Even if the portrait was from 1896 (making William only three years old), Minnie would have been present or Maria would have appeared pregnant. If anyone knows the answer to this mystery, please let us know! I would love to find out what happened to little Minnie and August.

Courtesy of Sharon Genetti Caine (great-granddaughter of Vigilio and Maria Genetti).

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Charles and John Genetti

 

A school photograph of brothers Charles (1889-1976) and John (1890-1972) Genetti. Photographed in Collinsville, IL, about 1898.

 

Courtesy of Sharon Genetti Caine (granddaughter of Charles Genetti).

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Frank, Katie, August and "Manili"

Standing are siblings Frank (1878-1900), Katie (1881-1954) and August Genetti (1876-1907), the children of Giovanni Battista (1839-1882) and Maria Corazza (?-1883). The older seated woman is labeled with the name “Manili”. She could be Maria Dolzadelli (1826-1898), the mother of Vigilio’s wife Maria (aunt of the siblings) and possibly a close friend of the family. Her age seems to fit the approximate age of this portrait. But this is only a guess – we just don’t know for sure.

The three children were left orphaned when their parents both died of pneumonia back in Castelfondo. They came to Collinsville in 1884, accompanied by someone we presume to be their Aunt Domenica.

Sadly the family faced even more tragedy. In 1900 brother Frank is murdered. And again in 1907 when August is also murder, this time by a first cousin. By 1907, Katie is the only surviving member of her immediate family. She marries a local merchant in 1909 and has five children.

Of special note: look closely at August standing on the right. He is wearing a lapel pin in the shape of an ax. This could indicate that he was a member of the fraternal society, Woodmen of America, founded in 1883 in Illinois. Both brothers also wear watch fobs with pendants, possibly indicating that they were members of several social organizations.

Possible date of the portrait is sometime around late 1897 or early 1898, Collinsville, IL.

Courtesy of Sharon Genetti Caine (great-granddaughter of Vigilio and Maria Genetti).

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Possibly Barbara, Cipriano and daughter Catterina Maria Genetti

 

This was a difficult photograph to identify due to the degradation of the portrait, and the fact that I had no date, place or names other than “Cipriano” to go by. After much consideration, my best guess is this is a photograph of the younger Cipriano (1850-1929) and his wife Barbara Inama (1854-1922) with their daughter Catterina Maria (1878-?). It was most likely photographed in Trentino, as there is no evidence that Barbara or Catterina ever left Castelfondo. And since Cipriano and Barbara’s son, Giuseppe “Joseph”, is not present in the portrait (he immigrated to Illinois in 1905), this may have been photographed around that time and sent to him as a remembrance of his family. If it was photographed about 1905, their daughter Catterina would have been 27 years old and her mother about 51. This appears to match the appearance of both women. But again, we just don’t have enough information to make a positive identification.

Courtesy of Sharon Genetti Caine (great-granddaughter of Vigilio and Maria Genetti).

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Kress Bakery

The label for this photograph is: Catherine and William at Kress Bake Shop. They are the two children pictured on the far left, the daughter and son of Vigilio and Maria Genetti. There’s no identification concerning date or place. Judging from the appearance of Catherine and William, my best guess is about 1908. Catherine would have been sixteen and William fifteen years old.

Courtesy of Sharon Genetti Caine (great-granddaughter of Vigilio and Maria Genetti).

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Catherine "Katie" and brother William Genetti

 

Close-up from the previous photograph, showing Catherine “Katie” (1892-1989) and her brother William (1893-1918). Tragically William died in a mining accident in 1918 at the age of 25, having never married. He is buried in the St. Peter and Paul Cemetery in Collinsville, Illinois.

Courtesy of Sharon Genetti Caine (great-granddaughter of Vigilio and Maria Genetti).

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Rosa and Charles Genetti, 1911

 

Charles Genetti (1889-1976) and wife Rosa Redolfi (1890-1976) on their wedding day April 25, 1911. They made their home in Gillespie, Illinois and had six children, five of whom reached adulthood. Their youngest child, Bernard, is still alive and well.

Courtesy of Sharon Genetti Caine (granddaughter of Charles Genetti, daughter of Bernard Genetti).

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Catherine Genetti 1919

 

Catherine “Katie” Genetti Petroski (1892-1989), daughter of Vigilio and Maria Genetti, portrait dated 1919. In earlier research on this family, I found Catherine to be a difficult person to trace. There was very little evidence of her in the public record with the exception of the 1900 and 1910 Federal Census. Until I received these photos of Catherine from Sharon Genetti Cain, (her grand-niece), I had no concrete information about Katie as an adult. 

Sharon’s photographs included Catherine’s married name. With this new information, I was able to uncover a few more listings in the public record about Vigilio and Maria’s elusive daughter.

Catherine was married to a man named Peter William Petroski (1886-1934). She is listed in the Social Security Death Index and on Find-A-Grave under her married name. And it turns out that Catherine lived a very long life, dying at the age of 97, outliving her husband by 55 years.

Courtesy of Sharon Genetti Caine (great-granddaughter of Vigilio and Maria Genetti).

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Catherine Genetti and Peter Petroski

 

Catherine Genetti (1892-1989) and her husband Peter William Petroski (1886-1934). Unfortunately there is no date, description or place given for this portrait. But from the clothing and formal pose, I would guess this was their wedding portrait. The style of clothing indicates this photograph could have been taken around 1920.

There is no mention of Catherine and Peter as husband and wife in any census. We do know from small newspaper clippings from Newspapers.com that “Peter Petroski and wife purchased property in Collinsville” in 1924; and that Peter Petroski was part of a church function at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in 1932.

According to the Illinois Death Index, Peter Petroski died in 1934 at the young age of 47. He was born in Lithuania and owned his own barber shop at the time of death.

Both Catherine and Peter are buried in the St. Peter and Paul Cemetery in Collinsville, IL. It  appears the couple had no children.

Courtesy of Sharon Genetti Caine (great-granddaughter of Vigilio and Maria Genetti).

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John, Charles and Vigilio Genetti

 

A beautiful formal portrait of Vigilio Genetti (1852-1932) with his two adult sons, John (1890-1972) – standing, and Charles (1889-1976) – seated. Dated 1920.

Courtesy of Sharon Genetti Caine (great-granddaughter of Vigilio and Maria Genetti).

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Charles and John Genetti

 

Brothers Charles and John Genetti in July 1920. I love the straw boater hats they have in the photo.

Courtesy of Sharon Genetti Caine (granddaughter of Charles).

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Frank George Genetti

 

Frank George Genetti (1913-2010) served in the Navy from 1942 to 1945. Descendant from the Illinois branch of the Genetti family (grandson of Vigilio and Maria Genetti, son of Charles Genetti), Frank and his three brothers: Charles Anthony (1921-2007), Leonard J. (1924-1973) and Bernard (living), all served our country during World War II. Frank’s youngest brother, Bernard, is alive and well – thank you so much for your honorable service!

Courtesy of Sharon Genetti Cain, daughter of Bernard Genetti.

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We welcome all contributions to the Genetti Family Photo Gallery. Please send photos as JPG files attached to an email (no more than 8 attachments per email). Include information for each photo so we can give it a caption (names, dates, location). Send to Louise Genetti Roach. Click here for email link.

 

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